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Monday, July 6, 2009

American Oaks: Gozzip Girl hits new peak

Steve Andersen, Daily Racing Form

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Back in March, trainer Tom Albertrani knew where he wanted to spend Fourth of July weekend. Gozzip Girl had won the Herecomesthebride Stakes in mid-March, and Albertrani saw in her a candidate for the Grade 1, $700,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

Nearly four months later, Gozzip Girl has done nearly everything that Albertrani and owner Myron Miller expected. She not only made it to the American Oaks, but scored the most convincing win of her career in the toughest field she had faced.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Gozzip Girl ($6.40) closed from 11th in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies to win by 3 /-4 lengths over Well Monied. Gozzip Girl was 7-2 on the morning line and was sent off favored, a relatively short price in such a large field. Her backers could not have been more correct.

"She's done so well and she seems like she's improving all the time," Albertrani said. "This is the race we've been planning since way back then."

Gozzip Girl ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.22 and needed a smart ride from Desormeaux to win her fourth stakes of the year - and her career. Breaking from the rail, Gozzip Girl raced on the inside to the end of the backstretch and moved to the outside on the turn. "It was just a matter of picking a gap and giving her somewhere to run," Desormeaux said.

With a quarter-mile remaining, Gozzip Girl was fifth, and took the lead with a furlong to go. She quickly pulled clear to take command of the race.

"I was happy where she was," Albertrani said. "She came with a great turn of foot. The last think you want to do is stop behind a horse that is tiring. Kent got her outside and had clear sailing."

Well Monied, who won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap here on May 31, closed from 13th to be second, finishing a half-length in front of 63-1 Lexlenos.

"None of them tried harder than my horse," said Howard Zucker, who trains Well Monied. "I'm proud of her."

Magical Affair finished fourth, and had a tough trip. Fourth behind Gozzip Girl in the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park on May 30, Magical Affair was stuck on the rail and was steadied twice in the stretch.

Magical Affair was followed by Acting Lady, Afternoon Stroll, The Best Day Ever, Apple Charlotte, Third Dawn, Nan, Rare Ransom, Mrs Kipling, Pretty Unusual, and Puttanesca.

Gozzip Girl, a Dynaformer filly, has won 5 of 8 starts and $782,194 for Miller, a 33-year-old real estate developer from Palm Beach, Fla. Prior to the Sands Point, she was second in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland in April.

Albertrani said the $600,000 Alabama Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on the main track at Saratoga on Aug. 22 is a possibility for Gozzip Girl's next start.

"We're thinking of trying her on the dirt," Albertrani said. "The Alabama is in our sights as long as Rachel Alexandra doesn't show up."

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